S Africa teams face cull
South Africa on July 7 is to announce which two of its six Super Rugby franchises are to be dumped from next year’s competition. The Central Cheetahs from Bloemfontein and the Southern Kings from Port Elizabeth are the media favorites for the chop. That would leave Coastal Sharks from Durban, the Golden Lions from Johannesburg, the Northern Bulls from Pretoria and the Western Stormers from Cape Town as the South Africa-based contenders next season. The decision is to be made after the South African Rugby Union has evaluated the on and off-field strengths and weaknesses of the six franchises.
Ex-UCI president dies
Former International Cycling Union (UCI) president Hein Verbruggen, who oversaw the worldwide spread of a sport often tainted by doping, has died. He was 75. The UCI and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) both reacted to the news on Wednesday, underscoring the Dutchman’s clout within both organizations. The IOC flew its flag at half staff and Dutch King Willem-Alexander, a former IOC member, called him “a man with a big heart for the Olympic movement, for cycling and those close to him.” Dutch cycling association spokesman Kevin Leenheers confirmed the death, saying Verbruggen died on Tuesday night. Critics said Verbruggen was too close to those involved in doping. He was often confronted for his relationship with Lance Armstrong of the US, who was the face of cycling with his seven Tour de France victories before he came to embody the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs. Verbruggen faced accusers saying he was colluding with dopers instead of countering them. He proclaimed his innocence until his death.
Referees’ powers boosted
Referees at this year’s Confederations Cup in Russia are to have the power to abandon games over discriminatory behavior by fans as part of a three-step procedure to promote fair play during the tournament, governing body FIFA said. The procedure allows referees to halt the match and make a public announcement over discriminatory fan behavior, temporarily suspend the game if the problem persists and completely stop the match if the behavior does not stop. The governing body also introduced an initiative to deploy antidiscrimination officials into the crowd to detect and report abusive behavior.
South Korea sack coach
South Korea yesterday axed coach Uli Stielike after a shock defeat to Qatar left their World Cup qualification hanging in the balance. Germany’s Stielike, who has been in charge since 2014, paid the price for a poor run of results, including qualifying defeats to China and Iran. Tuesday’s 3-2 reverse was South Korea’s first loss to Qatar in 32 years and left them in danger of missing direct qualification for Russia next year. Lee Yong-soo, chairman of the Korean Football Association (KFA), also resigned in a shake-up ahead of their final two qualifying games. “As the results of the final World Cup qualification round did not meet our expectation, the KFA and coach Stielike decided to end Stielike’s contract under mutual agreement,” Lee said after a meeting in Seoul.
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on
The Chicago Blackhawks and the Montreal Canadiens, with the fewest wins of any NHL playoff teams, ignited the rink returning from a COVID-19 hiatus with upset triumphs in Saturday openers. NHL Rookie of the Year candidate Dominik Kubalik inspired the Blackhawks to a 6-4 victory over the Edmonton Oilers in game one of their best-of-five qualifying series at Edmonton, Alberta, scoring two goals and assisting on three others. “We were ready to go, and I think the game was pretty good,” Kubalik said. “I felt pretty good and everything went my way, so it’s nice, but it’s just the first game,